Wednesday, January 26, 2011
An Australia Day icing explosion
Australians are known for our 'have a go' attitude so what better time to try rolled fondant icing for the first time than Australia Day. It was one of those baking techniques on my 'must do' list. It seemed quite a feat to master until I watched a Planet Cake video online and it seemed a cinch. Wrong! My first hunch was right.
Firstly, I made a double batch of Donna Hay's melt-and-mix white chocolate mud cake. Started daydreaming and looked at the plain flour quantity when putting in self-raising flour. Bad start. Managed to scrape a lot out and replace with plain flour but not before I could see the mixture frothing! Got right back on track.
Once cooled, the cake was filled with Donna Hay's white chocolate fudge icing, similar to a whipped ganache and then covered with a basic white chocolate ganache recipe. Cursing myself for not having two round tins of exactly the same shape. I can already see the cake is whacky at this point but boy does it taste good when I cut a few bits off to "even it up"!
As per Planet Cake advice (and because there are only so many hours in an evening) I left it overnight to set. In the morning, I had a nice solid surface to work with but there is one piece of advice I skimmed over and that was to make a really smooth surface. I should have dipped a knife in hot water and smoothed the cake's surface. I assumed that thick fondant would cover all manner of sin.
Rolling out the Orchard icing was pretty straightforward using a rolling pin and cornflour. It's durable and didn't tear. Using the rolling pin to drape it over the cake, making a ghostly shape in the process, was pretty fun.
Then I tried to rub in circular motions to smooth it from top to bottom just like the Planet Cake people. The rubbing technique did not make up for the lumps of white chocolate peeking through. At this point I told my husband I had made a volcano. I needed to get to the office and I was feeling disappointed.
What the heck I thought, I'll chuck another layer on and see if that looks any better. Planet Cake did not advise me to do this, I'm sure it breaks all sorts of rules but sometimes us amateurs are just stuck in these tricky little situations and we need a quick-fix, however unorthodox. I don't know if it looked better, but I felt better so I pinned on some ribbon, stuck in a little flag and voila, Bob's your uncle. When swivelled around to its less favourable side, the cake on the plate even looks like an Akubra. Hey True Blue?!
My first attempt at rolled fondant wasn't all smooth sailing but it was a good learning experience and my workmates were very obliging and gracious taste testers at our Australia Day morning tea.
We enjoyed it with lamingtons, chocolate teddy bear biscuits, Vegemite sandwiches, fairy bread and sausage rolls.
It wasn't perfect of course, but my Aussie spirit was telling me that "she'll be right". Nothing's perfect.
Wishing you all a very enjoyable Australia Day. I've found myself a BBQ to attend while listening to the Hottest 100 countdown on Triple J and brushing up on my Aussie slang. Beaut.